Cerebral Palsy and Special Education.
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy

Special EducationCerebral PalsyCerebral PalsyCerebral PalsyCerebral PalsyCerebral Palsy

In general, your child with cerebral palsy has two academic choices: a “mainstream,” or regular, school, or a Special Education school. If you decide that mainstreaming your child is the best choice in mind of his or her growth and abilities, then your child will attend a regular school in which they are partially or fully involved in the regular curriculum, with supplemental aid as determined by his or her needs. In almost all cases, however, a child with cerebral palsy will at some point need a special adaptive physical education (P.E.) program.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy

Many children who are only mildly to moderately cerebral palsied enjoy success in a normal P.E. program until they reach approximately ten or eleven years of age, at which point sports are apt to become far more competitive, and a child with cerebral palsy may find it complicated to successfully compete. Even if a child cannot compete in sports, physical activity is always healthy. Adaptive P.E. offers a great deal of benefits to the child with cerebral palsy, providing advantageous physical activity and a simultaneous boost in self-esteem. Informal occupational and physical therapy, if it’s offered and is what you want for your child, may also be provided for a cerebral palsied child while his or her peers are in regular P.E.

Mainstreaming your child, while it is a decision that is up to you, is not a decision that’s open to everyone. A child who has cognitive and communicative abilities that are age-appropriate and who will not need specialized medical care can, and some will argue should, be included in a regular school.

Some children with cerebral palsy exhibit behavioral trouble; mainstreaming a child in order to expose the child to other non-disabled children can help to expand a child’s group of friends and provide a more “normalized” academic and social experience. Many feel that this is the single-best benefit of inclusion. Also, it can help to reduce the stigma towards disabled persons still present in many of our schools today. It may even reduce occurrences of harassment, as being around persons with disabilities allows other children without disabilities to formulate a more in-depth understanding of what it is like to have a disability.

In a perfect world, every school would have the necessary personnel and funding to provide the best of services to those in need of special education. This not being a perfect world, however, not all schools have an appropriately specialized faculty. This is probably the most profound disadvantage to inclusion – it is quite possible that the instructor who provides your child with his or her education has no special training. If your child has no severe motor difficulties, this could be less of a problem, but if he or she has any major communicative, cognitive, or motor limitations, it is possible that the teacher wouldn’t fully know how to handle the situation if they had no prior experience in instruction disabled children.

Yet another problem with mainstreaming a child with cerebral palsy is the possible lack of specialized equipment that your child may very well profit from. Another problem with inclusion is, because it’s much cheaper to the state mainstream a child rather than send them to a special education facility, school officials may opt towards inclusion even if it’s not fully appropriate for your child. If you feel that this is the case, be sure to remind those in charge of the decision-making process that IDEA entitles your child to a “free appropriate education” in the “least restrictive environment” possible. If the decision they reach about your child’s education is not accordance with these specification set out by IDEA, they are in violation of federal law.

Do not feel that the initial decision to include your child in regular schools is set in stone – it is a decision that must be reassessed as your child continues to grow and develop. The process of mainstreaming can be quite a gradual move. It may be that in your child’s early years, you decide that a special education facility with much experience and equipment will most benefit his or her growth. As the years pass, however, it become clear that he or she might benefit from inclusion, at which point your child might attend a half-day at both a special school and a regular school, and perhaps a while after that, move into a fully mainstreamed curriculum.

Not every child will benefit from inclusion in a regular curriculum, and if you feel that this is the case with your child, you can choose to send him or her to a special education school. These schools were founded mainly in reaction to the pioneering piece of legislation known as IDEA, enacted in 1975, that promises children with disabilities the right to an education. Prior to the passing of IDEA, disabled children were often institutionalized, home-schooled, or attempted to manage attending a mainstream school.

Often, the special school that best fits a child’s needs is located at a great distance from their home and community. This has given rise to two of the most commonly heard arguments against special schools: lack of contact with the home and community, and a commute that is inconvenient to the child and his or her family.

Some argue that special education schools are not only essentially segregated education, but that they also may not provide your child with the education best suited for him or her. Grouping together children with many different disabilities to educate them does not ensure that your unique child’s unique needs will be met. Also, many feel that because so many special education schools are located so far from the home and community, disabled persons might find it quite difficult to function in “the outside world” after having been in a special education facility until early adulthood. After all, many children are in special Ed. Until the age on nineteen, at which point so many years of isolation may adversely affect his or her ability to integrate themselves back into the community.

Special education may be far from perfect, but it’s also far from all bad. Special education facilities are largely concentrated in terms of resources for your child – it can certainly be advantageous for a child to be able to receive education and therapy in the same location.

Probably the most essential of arguments in favor of special Ed. is the expertise and equipment that can be found in special education facilities. Not only do special education instructors have the training needed to successfully educate a child with special needs, they also have the necessary specialized teaching equipment that can be essential in the academic success of many disabled children.

Again, whatever you decide is best for your child may not be best for them forever. Make sure to continually re-examine the issue and assess the situation based on all aspects of your child’s growth and development.

Sitemap | Please feel free to

.
Cerebral Palsy and Education: Evaluations, Financing,
IFSP, IEP, IHP, Legal Rights and Special Education.